June 25, 2002
A Monday night game between Triple-A Columbus and Scranton-Wilkes/Barre–which the Red Barons won in a rout, 19-1–resulted in a fight involving two of the game’s top prospects, Brett Myers and Drew Henson.
It got started when Clippers pitcher Bob Scanlan hit Scranton’s Dave Doster with a fifth-inning pitch, forcing in Scranton’s 17th run. Myers retaliated the next inning by brushing back Robert Perez with a high inside fastball.
“I didn’t mean to throw at Perez’s head,” Myers told the Scranton News-Tribune. “I don’t want to hurt anybody, to end their career.”
Scanlan then hit Marlon Byrd in the shoulder in the bottom of the frame. Umpires and coaches held Byrd back as other players headed onto the field, including Myers.
Myers yelled and pointed toward Scanlon, who was ejected and standing next to Henson on the mound.
“When he hit Marlon, he (ticked) me off,” Myers said. “Marlon’s one of my good buddies, and everyone on this team has been good to me. When one of my buddies get hit, we’re going to play beanball war.”
Myers made good on his promise when Henson came to the plate with two out the next inning.
“Henson was standing there looking at me and saying stuff,” Myers told the Delaware News Journal. “So I told him, ‘You’re next, buddy, you’re next.’ So right when I threw at him I knew he was coming out.”
Henson, a 6-foot-5, 222-pound former college football quarterback, charged as soon as the fastball from the 6-4, 215-pound Myers, a former amateur boxer, whizzed behind his belt.
“He doesn’t intimidate me one bit,” Myers said, “because when I hit him and he hit me, we both stopped in our tracks and he had the full momentum. He didn’t scare me. You can bring all you want out here, but you’re going to hit a linebacker, I’ll tell you that.
“If I would have hit him with one of my hands, we’d be in the hospital, both of us, because I’d be in there getting a cast on my hand and he’d be in there for his broken face.”
But Myers never got off any punches. Catcher Johnny Estrada charged right behind Henson and crashed face-first into Myers as he dove on the pile, giving Myers a bloody nose and leaving Estrada with a fat lip. Then the rest of the players piled on and Myers covered up, trying to protect his pitching arm.
“There’s no reason for me to hit somebody in a game we’re losing 16-0,” Scanlansaid. “That was our fault; we were walking guys. There was no message that needed to be sent. I throw a lot of two-seam fastballs, and one got away.
“The second bad assumption on their part was that you can throw at one of our players’ heads and there’s not going to be an answer. Obviously, the young man (Myers) needs to learn how to throw inside on people. You don’t throw it at people’s heads.”
Said Henson: “It’s part of baseball. One of our guys almost got hit in the head, and it escalated from there. You guys saw what happened. There’s not really a whole lot more to say.”
“It’s part of baseball,” said Mike Arbuckle, the Phillies assistant general manager and director of player development. Finishing a five-day stay in Scranton, Arbuckle was watching Myers pitch for the first time this season and saw him get the win with 6 2/3 innings of shutout baseball in the victory.
“You’re always concerned about injuries, but it is part of the game,” Arbuckle said. “Guys are going to protect their teammates, and (Myers) did.”
All players involved in the brawl will be fined $150. The ejected players–Myers, Scanlan, Henson and two others–will be fined $450 and receive three-game suspensions.
Myers might get five games. Was it worth it to him?
“No, because I wish I would have hurt (Henson),” Myers said. “I wish I would have hurt him. I walk away from it looking like I got beat up. But everything is fine.”
Compiled from reports in the Delware News Journal and Scranton News-Tribune.